New Place in Town

hen we got off the metro at Ladvi, the brewpub was right across the lot. Pivovar Cobolis. It was a monster. Burke says the pub here used to be an old dinosaur from the communist era. It’s easy to see old men hunched over red tablecloths sipping ten degrees and smoking at a rapid pace.

Now, it’s filled with the pre-concert droves heading to Depeche Mode. They are dressed in black and many of them sport hairdos popular when Depeche Mode made its appearance in 1980. Everyone is nice. Everyone loves our dog, who lies on her stomach on the floor and awaits cookies.

One of the great parts of moving to a new home is finding new places in the area. For us, this usually means pubs, cafes, restaurants, and grocery stores. This is a good payoff to the extreme stress of moving to a new place. So, after a month and a half of limbo and disruption, we get a new pub.

The waitresses are busy and possess a trademark grumpy shell, but my bad Czech warms them up pretty quickly. What my tongue-tripping doesn’t cover is accomplished by my dog. If suddenly tomorrow the Czech Republic declared all pubs for dogs only the country’s waitresses would enter a state of nirvana. People are the worst part of waiting tables. Dogs make it worthwhile. They rarely drink too much, never hit on a waitress (besides a little leg hump here and there), and they only ever ask for water. And that’s by proxy.

As we drink, we look around. There’s a little mall with an Albert grocery store, a KFC, and a sweet shop. After three drinks, we begin discussing where we will eat or get food from. We ultimately decide on the Albert out of default since KFC has gone a long way to making itself as bad as possible.

The balmy day gives way to storms as I leave Albert. So I run across the lot to find Burke and the other outdoor drinkers being herded into the pub’s restaurant. Once inside we find a cozy table in the corner and watch the rain pour down. The place is a huge, tall, vast beerhall and how I picture Valhalla (you know, without the Vikings and all the fighting).

When I visit a place that used to be an old Czech pub, I can’t help but mourn the loss of those places of character. Now that these places are getting gentrified, it’s only a matter of time before they are all gone. The grizzled places. The stinky metro and rail station pubs will soon be sleek and new like this. Sure, there are aspects that are better now. You can go to a pub without putting your clothes into an incinerator the next day. I imagine that the men and women who drank here in the 1980s would be astounded to see its transformation into a gentrified brewpub. One thing’s for sure, it must smell better.

Next week, it’s the park cafe around the corner! I hope they’re nice, but just in case I’ll bring my dog.

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